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The Magicians: A Novel by Lev Grossman

The Magicians: A Novel (original 2009; edition 2009)

by Lev Grossman

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,051423892 (3.45)1 / 377
Title:The Magicians: A Novel
Authors:Lev Grossman
Info:Viking Adult (2009), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 416 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, read in 2012

Work details

The Magicians by Lev Grossman (2009)

Recently added byMrsAlwyn, private library, imamandajulius, Vayl, Alissa-, MattCembrola, semjaza, samjudd, Gwonster
  1. 171
    The Secret History by Donna Tartt (middled, kraaivrouw, Euryale)
    Euryale: No magic, but I thought the tone and setting were otherwise very similar.
  2. 175
    The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis (Jannes)
    Jannes: The Magicians wolud not exist if it wasn't for the Narnia books, and is really a kind of loving deconstruction of Lewis' work. What could be better than giving the books that inspired it a try?
  3. 121
    Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders by Neil Gaiman (catfantastic)
    catfantastic: Read the short story "The Problem of Susan" included in this collection.
  4. 146
    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling (sonyagreen)
    sonyagreen: It's like HP goes to college, complete with drinking and sex.
  5. 137
    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (Anonymous user)
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  6. 40
    The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Volume I by Diana Wynne Jones (Anonymous user)
  7. 20
    Little, Big by John Crowley (rarm)
    rarm: Fairy tale worlds that reveal a hidden darkness.
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  9. 31
    The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly (rnmcusic)
  10. 10
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  13. 10
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  14. 10
    The Silver Nutmeg: The Story of Anna Lavinia and Toby by Palmer Brown (tetrachromat)
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  15. 21
    How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu (lobotomy42)
    lobotomy42: Similar combination of a genre setting, an unlikeable protagonist, and an inward-looking plot.
  16. 32
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    Jannes: Both are fantasy or fantasy-sih books about fantasy readers and how the stories you read hape you and affect your sense of the world.
  17. 65
    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Book 1) by J. K. Rowling (kaledrina)
    kaledrina: Older YAs and above. Really for late teens and adults. Potter meets Narnia meet sex drugs and rock n roll.
  18. 65
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    elleeldritch: An adult version of Harry Potter (and Narnia), albeit with a different (but still interesting) magic scheme.
  19. 00
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    aulsmith: Two different schools of magic
  20. 00
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English (421)  Swedish (1)  French (1)  All languages (423)
Showing 1-5 of 421 (next | show all)
So I finally finished this on my flight to Seattle. A lot of the book is mopey b/c Quentin seems to walk around with unreasonable expectations. That being said I think that the way the story is told and the settings and a lot of the other characters make the book for me. While there was a huge chunk in the middle I got hung up on--I still really enjoyed the end. ( )
  Rosa.Mill | Nov 21, 2015 |
So I finally finished this on my flight to Seattle. A lot of the book is mopey b/c Quentin seems to walk around with unreasonable expectations. That being said I think that the way the story is told and the settings and a lot of the other characters make the book for me. While there was a huge chunk in the middle I got hung up on--I still really enjoyed the end. ( )
  Rosa.Mill | Nov 21, 2015 |
Not what I was expecting, I was not expecting Harry Potter, but to summarize the whole book - DIRE! Everything about the book was anti-climactic. Not a happy book at all, so if you are looking for a pick me up light reading book, this is not for you. There was a fictional world "Fillory" that was referenced a bit too often, it got very monotonous and sometimes I felt like it was just used for fill. The entire book was set as a "Oh something good is going to happen" then NO whatever happens comes crashing down and something goes terribly wrong. It did end on a slightly encouraging note, so I will listen to the next in the series. ( )
  Mindslayer | Nov 18, 2015 |
Lev Grossman is brilliant in how he uses fantasy tropes as a template (like a sonnet form) for his story. From the cracks about Quidditch to the geese that were similar to the geese in Sword and the Stone, he has fun allusions and references. But it is more than that--I think his magical system reflects how he uses fantasy tropes as a structure. This book is an excellent pastiche, way better than any fan fiction but done with the same obsessive love as fan fiction.

I also ended up liking Quentin. Alice was certainly the better person, but I related to Quentin a lot--I was an asshole teenager (and early twentysomething) a decade ago. Furthermore, I appreciated that one of the main characters was gay, and that this novel acknowledged sex as a part of the fantasy (and college) world. I was lucky enough to have parents who encouraged me to hang out at the library for hours (instead of policing what I read), so I got a taste for adult fantasy at a young age, long before Harry Potter was published.

Fuck Quidditch. ( )
  Marjorie_Jensen | Nov 12, 2015 |
In the first sentence of ‘The Magicians’, Quentin Coldwater does a magic trick with a nickel. A human version of magic.
Another series about magic, I hear you ask? Well this is nothing like Harry Potter. Quentin is due to sit an entrance exam for Princeton when he wanders into the grounds of a mysterious school in upstate New York. In a large room full of unknown teenagers, he sits the oddest test he has ever known. Then he is told he has passed and is accepted at Brakebills, a school of magic. For the first few months his best friend is a glass marble on which he practises his magic.
This is an adult tale. Brakebills is not Hogwarts and Quentin is a young man on the cusp of adulthood, with lingering adolescent depression and lack of confidence. The teenage magicians practise their magic, get drunk and have sex. At his ‘youngest’ moments Quentin remembers the magical tales he loved as a child about a land called Fillory. When he is down, he wishes he could escape to Fillory. And at first, he thinks Brakebills might be Fillory. But it isn’t because Fillory, of course, is fictional.
There are three books in the series and out of necessity in this book Quentin learns his magic. There were times I wished it would move more quickly, the carrot of Fillory is dangled in front of Quentin so much. In Harry Potter – oh how Lev Grossman must be tired of the comparisons – the threat of Lord Voldemort hovers from the first pages. There is no dark threat hovering over Quentin, just teenage angst, teenage love, and a longing to escape his daily life into Fillory. When he does reach Fillory, will it be what he expects?
Read more of my book reviews at http://www.sandradanby.com/book-reviews-a-z/ ( )
  Sandradan1 | Nov 12, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 421 (next | show all)
”Magikerna” marknadsförs som ”Harry Potter för vuxna”, men i själva verket är det en ovanligt vacker sorgesång över hur det är att lämna barndomen. Det var faktiskt bättre förr, när man kunde uppslukas helt av leken.
added by Jannes | editDagens nyheter, Lotta Olsson (Feb 4, 2013)
This isn't just an exercise in exploring what we love about fantasy and the lies we tell ourselves about it -- it's a shit-kicking, gripping, tightly plotted novel that makes you want to take the afternoon off work to finish it.
added by lampbane | editBoing Boing, Cory Doctorow (Oct 20, 2009)
It’s the original magic — storytelling — that occasionally trips Grossman up. Though the plot turns new tricks by the chapter, the characters have a fixed, “Not Another Teen Movie” quality. There’s the punk, the aesthete, the party girl, the fat slacker, the soon-to-be-hot nerd, the shy, angry, yet inexplicably irresistible narrator. Believable characters form the foundation for flights of fantasy. Before Grossman can make us care about, say, the multiverse, we need to intuit more about Quentin’s interior universe.
Somewhat familiar, albeit entertaining... Grossman's writing is intelligent, but don't give this one to the kids—it's a dark tale that suggests our childhood fantasies are no fun after all.
added by Shortride | editPeople, Sue Corbett (Aug 31, 2009)
Grossman has written both an adult coming-of-age tale—rife with vivid scenes of sex, drugs, and heartbreak—and a whimsical yarn about forest creatures. The subjects aren’t mutually exclusive, and yet when stirred together so haphazardly, the effect is jarring. More damaging still is the plot, which takes about 150 pages to gain any steam, surges dramatically in the book’s final third, and then peters out with a couple chapters left to go.
added by Shortride | editBookforum, Michael Shaer (Aug 14, 2009)

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lev Grossmanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bramhall, MarkNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I'll break my staff,
Bury it certain fathoms in the earth,
And deeper than did ever plummet sound
I'll drown my book.

--William Shakespeare, The Tempest
For Lily
First words
Quentin did a magic trick. Nobody noticed.
That guy was a mystery wrapped in an enigma and crudely stapled to a ticking fucking time bomb. He was either going to hit somebody or start a blog.
Space was full of angry little particles.
He had no interest in TV anymore - it looked like an electronic puppet show to him, an artificial version of an imitation world that meant nothing to him anyway. Real life - or was it a fantasy life? whichever one Brakebills was - that was what mattered, and that was happening somewhere else.
No one would come right out and say it, but the worldwide magical ecology was suffering from a serious imbalance: too many magicians, not enough monsters.
"Never cook with a wine you wouldn't drink," he said. "Though I guess that presupposes that there is a wine I wouldn't drink."
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0670020559, Hardcover)

Amazon Best of the Month, August 2009: Mixing the magic of beloved children's fantasy classics (from Narnia and Oz to Harry Potter and Earthsea) with the sex, excess, angst, and anticlimax of life in college and beyond, Lev Grossman's Magicians reimagines modern-day fantasy for grownups. Quentin Coldwater lives in a state of perpetual melancholy, privately obsessed with his childhood books about the enchanted land of Fillory. When he’s admitted to the surreptitious Brakebills Academy for an education in magic, Quentin finds mastering spells is tedious (and love is even more fraught). He also discovers his power has thrilling potential--though it's unclear what he should do with it once he's moved with his new magician cohorts to New York City. Then they discover the magical land of Fillory is real and launch an expedition to use their powers to set things right in the kingdom--which, naturally, turns out to be a much murkier proposition than expected. The Magicians breathes life into a cast of characters you want to know--if the people you want to know are charismatic, brilliant, complex, flawed magicians--and does what Quentin claims books never really manage to do: "get you out, really out, of where you were and into somewhere better. " Or if not better, at least a heck of a lot more interesting. --Mari Malcolm

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:45 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

As a senior in high school Quentin Coldwater became preoccupied with a series of fantasy novels he read as a child, set in a magical land called Fillory. After graduating from college and being admitted into a highly exclusive, secret society of magic in upstate New York, he makes a stunning discovery: Fillory is real. But the land of Quentin's fantasies turns out to be much darker and more dangerous than he could have imagined for his childhood dream becomes a nightmare with a shocking truth at its heart.… (more)

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